Salah El-din Citadel
6 March 2023
27 July 2023
Salah El-din Citadel is an iconic fortress located in the heart of Cairo, Egypt. Built in the 12th century, it served as a military stronghold and royal residence for centuries. Today, visitors can explore its many attractions, including museums, mosques, and panoramic views of the city. A must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of Cairo.
Standing proud above the hustle and crowdies of the modern city of Cairo, Salah El-din citadel "The Massive Fortress" is considered the most non-pharaonic ancient attraction and the most popular Islamic monument in the city. Salah El-din citadel emits its charm from the great trove of worthwhile attractions lying within its walls to the Great view enjoyed from above as you can see much of Coptic Cairo and sometimes the pyramids of Giza.
As you roam the fortress, you will be enchanted by the architecture and the very tiny details of the place. You will definitely need to devote a whole day to this one-of-a-kind citadel. To explore the Islamic touch, get your hair covered, and let’s tour the citadel together!
But First, Aren’t You A Little Bit Curious About Who Salah El-Din Even Is?
His full name is Al-Nasir Salah El-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, the first sultan of Egypt and the founder of the medieval Sultanate, the Ayyubid dynasty. In addition to his unmatchable knowledge that he earned from mainly Al-Quran, theology, astronomy, law, and mathematics.
He joined the military and was sent to Egypt to help solve issues in the Fatimid Egypt, and later by his great capability and executed tactics, he managed to overthrow the Fatimid Dynasty in 1171 AD, and in 1187, he defeated the Crusaders at the pivotal Battle of Hattin and expanded his sultanate to Palestine, Syria, Yemen, the Hijaz and parts of North Africa.
He is considered the most Famous Muslim Kurd in history, a great man with such a clever mind and great military tactics, it’s no surprise that he constructed such a highly fortified fortress that later became one of the most prominent ancient attractions in Egypt.
Let’s Find Out About the History of the Inspiring Salah El-Din Citadel
On the hill of Mokattam near the center of Cairo in 1176 AD, Salah El-Din began the construction of the citadel to make a powerful fortress standing against foreign invading forces. It was completed later by king Al Malek El Kamelin in 1182 AD and further developed by subsequent rulers as it was a personal residence for Egyptian rulers for about 700 years. Being one of the world’s greatest medieval warfare monuments, the citadel resembles a typical early medieval one with high defending walls, towers, and large gateways.
The citadel houses 3 prominent magnificent mosques, a military museum, a dazzling garden museum, and the famous Gawhara Palace named after Mohamed Ali’s wife and they are all definitely worth the visit. The views from this height are really spectacular, you should never miss the visit!
Let’s Take A Deeper Look Inside and Explore the Most Attractive Sites in the Citadel Together
You will be surprised by the numerous constructions within the citadel starting with the very famous marvelous Mohamed Ali Mosque, Al-Nasir Qaloun Mosque, Sulaiman Pasha Mosque, and Ahmed Ktkhda Mosque moving to another great startled four palaces which are the Gawhara Palace, Haram Palace, Albblq Palace, and Saraya Justice Palace.
In addition to several astonishing ancient towers such as Al-Muqattam Tower, Al-Ramlah Tower, Al-Amam Tower, Al-Maquser Tower, Al-Saffa Tower, Al-Alwa Tower, Tower Al Tarfa, Haddad Tower, Desert Tower, Kerkilan Tower, Mablat Tower, Al-Alwa Tower, and Al-Amam Tower. Also the two most visited museums in the Citadel, The Police Museum and the Military Museum, and a hall of justice, an entrance route, and an arsenal.
The Citadel went under so many changes throughout history and the most marked changes happened during the 19th century by Mohamed Ali and later his Dynasty as he tried to erase the traces of the six-century reign of Mamluks.
Now get your camera ready to capture the marvelous scene cause I'm taking you through The majestic Ottoman-influenced Mohamed Ali Mosque:
Known as Alabaster Mosque, is one of Cairo’s most recognizable landmarks. Large and Visible, the mosque is constructed in a Turkish imperial style like the ones in Istanbul. It has a huge open interior and two eighty-three meters high minarets taking the shape of a pencil fixed at the front corner of the mosque with a central captivating fountain in front of the entrance. The doomed roof is painted with breathtaking landscape scenes; hours of observation won’t be enough. Glory and enchantment linger through the air of this dazzling mosque.
Mohamed Ali didn’t just build a Mosque of his own but also built the Gawhara Palace for his wife:
The palace was built in 1814 and became a masterpiece of Art, of course, it must be as architects and artists from several different countries had put their own touch in designing the palace. Unique antiquities and a huge splendid 1000kg chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the audience hall and many more are undoubtedly worth your visit!
Heading to Salah-Salem street inside Salah El-Din Citadel, there stands the Military Museum:
It was dedicated to Mohamed Ali and his family, it was opened in 1949 and contains several halls showing the military history of the Egyptian army starting with the Pharaonic era to the modern one.
Egypt has always been the land of mystery and a massive number of attractions that you should absolutely visit and explore to witness the glory and charm yourself.
If you're looking to explore Egypt beyond the port of Safaga, Cairo is a must-see destination. With a rich history and many iconic landmarks, there are plenty of Safaga Port day trips available that will take you from Safaga to Cairo to experience the best of this vibrant city.
Safaga Shore Excursions is a local travel agency located in Safaga, Red Sea governorate, Egypt; providing epic day tours, and shore excursions from all the main ports of Egypt to the best tourist attractions and landmarks which are Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and Hurghada for more than 15 years with the help of our professional tour guides and drivers who utilize the finest transportations plus our highly skilled tour operators who will customize the most ideal trip in Egypt at reasonable and fair prices.